I Didn’t Know Where Exactly
But I Knew God Wanted Me
Somewhere In Africa
The day I became a Christian will forever be etched in my brain. It happened over 40 years ago but I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.
The family I came from was intermittently religious. At the time we were not attending church but from a young age I can remember going to church most every Sunday. We didn’t do a lot of Bible reading or studying at home, or praying for that matter, but dad was an elder so to church we went regularly. I honestly don’t remember learning much about God from all those trips to church. I even went through confirmation but remember nothing other than the fact that we attended classes each week for three for four weeks. I guess I was pretty dull headed because nothing seeped in or stuck.
At the age of thirteen, however, not too long after confirmation, I was playing in the back garden with my best friend, Lynn. It was a weekday and usually on weekdays Lynn and I roamed the neighborhood after school looking for new adventures. It was the normal thing for kids our age. But, this particular day Lynn was distracted. He didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I couldn’t get him to budge. He almost seemed depressed. I didn’t realize it until later but he was concerned about his own spiritual state.
Richard, Lynn’s older brother, had recently returned from a tour of duty in the armed forces and on his return home had made a profession of faith in Christ. It’s a long story but suffice it to say Richard was telling everyone in the house they too needed to be saved. Richard’s persistent message coupled with God’s moving created a burden on Lynn’s heart he couldn’t ignore.
While sitting in deep thought atop our picnic table, completely out of the blue and completely unexpected by me, Lynn said, “Nancy got saved…”
Nancy was Lynn’s sister. I knew her well but I had no idea what he meant by “saved.” That wasn’t familiar terminology to me. The first thing that came to mind was she had fallen in the creek near her home and someone had fished her out. Don’t know why I had that thought. She could swim well.
But, being the curious sort that I am I asked, “what do you mean saved?” To which he responded very matter-of-factly, “if you’re not saved, when you die, you go to hell.” That remark hit me right between the eyes. The moment he said it, God reached down and gripped my heart with conviction. I couldn’t let go of it.
My immediate response was, “Am I saved?” and Lynn said, “I don’t know.” I asked him how to be saved and his answer again was a blank, “I don’t know how to explain it.”
Not giving up, I asked who could tell me how to be saved and he said his brother, Richard, could.
Naturally, I wanted to know if Richard was home and again the answer was “I don’t know” but Lynn was quite willing to head home and see if Richard was there, so down the street we headed. All the way, I kept thinking to myself:
“I hope it’s not too late for me, I don’t want to go to hell when I die.”
Obviously, I had very little information and was concerned about the answers. I wasn’t aware how much God loved me. Read more